As with the housewarming, there were 4 or so different social circles overlapping and mixing happily and effortlessly, which is a huge pleasure for a couple of (at least semi-)introverts throwing a party.
Also, I made ice cream! If you've never made ice cream before, you may think of this as a daunting and mysterious process: I had heard rumors that you have to get an ice cream machine, throw in a bunch of ice and (for some reason) rock salt, and then churn it endlessly with the crank and oh it's just not worth it at all. It turns out that:
- no special equipment is required
- it's really easy and takes only a small amount of attention once you grok it
- the results are great and totally worth it
If you just throw some ingredients in the freezer, they will freeze OK, but have big obnoxious ice crystals like a frozen pond instead of being a homogeneous mix. The ice and salt go around the ingredients like a jacket in order to freeze it reasonably quickly so you don't have to spend several hours standing around outside (or in your freezer) stirring it. The salt is to lower the temperature at which the ice hangs out melting, since your ice cream mix freezes at below the freezing point of water. Rock salt is because it's cheaper, not because it works better—the mixing is exorthermic, so it actually works worse.
I blended in the blender
- 2 whole raw eggs
- 1 qt half and half
- ~1 cup sugar
- 1 lb bag of frozen strawberries
and put the mix in a gallon ziplock bag, then another one as a backup. This all went into a third one-gallon bag, which I kept putting ice and salt in (initially CaCl2 road salt, later kitchen salt) and rolling around and massaging with my gloved hands.
It took me about half an hour because I was doing it wrong:
- I did not look up the ice:salt ratio
- I did not use a larger outer bag (because I didn't have one)
- I did not pay the additional attention required when you are being sloppy
so the end result was that, for a while, I was uselessly massaging a bag with some non-melting ice wedged in at one end and a salty slurry at the other. I got a clue late in the game, mixed the ice and salt better and kept feeding ice in while standing outside doing it, and then just threw it in the freezer after a certain point.
So: make half as much as I did, or get an outer bag that is twice as big. You can multitask on this; it's not tiring. It's supposed to take 15min or less when you do it right. I bet you can cut that way down by bringing all your ingredients down to freezing or near-freezing in your freezer right before you mix them; in my case the cream and sugar started out warm.
If you've only had store-bought ice cream, the intensity of flavors you get from having thrown a raw fresh(ly frozen) ingredient in instead of whatever it is one does in a large-scale ice cream factory is pretty mindblowing. I loved loved loved the results and think everyone should do this.